Icelandic crime thriller Trapped returns for a heart-breakingly good second series
“Does this concern politics, or is this a family affair?”
It can seem like we’re swimming in acclaimed Nordic crime series but Baltasar Kormákur’s Ófærð (also known by its English title Trapped) was the one worth catching in 2016. Its first series had an ingenious concept which saw its cast literally trapped by the wintry weather in a remote Icelandic town and perhaps wisely, Series 2 opts for a different season and a different setting in which to reunite its crime-fighting team.
So we’re in the northern town of Siglufjörður and though he’s now based in Reykjavík, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson’s police chief Andri finds himself drawn to an unfolding case which has both professional and personal implications. And topically, writers Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley draw in a number of hot button topics – homophobia, Islamophobia folded into a general sense of the rise of the Far Right, plus a dose of environmental exploitation to amp up the relevance points. Continue reading “TV Review: Trapped Series 2”
“Something evil came with that storm
‘I think it was already here…'”
There must come a point when we run out of exceptional European dramas to import but thankfully, it doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon. This time, we’re looking to Iceland with Trapped, a 10 part crime mystery drama that simply reaffirms the extraordinary quality of Nordic Noir, whilst establishing its own niche therein. Created by Baltasar Kormákur (who directed last year’s Everest) and written by Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley, it has reportedly received the highest budget by far ever invested into an Icelandic series and well, it shows.
Set in Seyðisfjörður, a remote town on the coast of eastern Iceland, Trapped begins with the discovery of a dismembered torso in the water at the same time that the weekly ferry from Denmark has arrived. Starting the investigation is Chief of Police Andri with colleagues Hinrika and Ásgeir but their job is complicated by the arrival of an almighty blizzard which prevents the Reykavik police from flying in to take over. It also means that no-one can leave, by land or by sea, and so whoever committed the crime can’t have left town… Continue reading “DVD Review: Trapped”
Tortoise, written and directed by Andy Bloom, details the relationship between two teenage brothers who live a sheltered life deep in rural isolation. Things are made worse by the presence of their violent and unpredictable father, a brilliantly unlikeable Matthew Kelly, who dominates their every waking moment and so older brother Charlie, a steely-jawed Tom Hughes, has determined to escape the situation. Problem is the more fragile Billy, a cowed Rob Ostlere, isn’t completely sure and so they’ve waited for over a year until finally provoked once too many. Grim but reflective, a powerful reminder of how they fuck you up, your mum and dad. Sometimes.
Another trip into Icelandic Cinema Online threw up this little gem, Small Things or Litlir Hlutir by Davíð Óskar Ólafsson. A Lantana-like confection, combining together disparate stories and characters into one interconnected world where one small thing for one person sets in chain huge events for others. Gripping stuff which you can watch for a euro here. http://icelandiccinema.com/watch/187 Continue reading “Short Film Review #36”
Another Icelandic short (it’s a slippery slope once I start on these things…) and this time it’s a jet black comedy. Hrefna Hagalín and Kristín Bára Haraldsdóttir’s Knowledgy follows a naïve Icelandic couple as they get suckered into an LA-based cult by the charismatic leaders (and the example of Ashton Kutcher). Following their every move is their lodger who is filming their story for his film project and provides an excellent external view into this ever-darkening tale. Continue reading “Short Film Review #35”
The Icelandic Vesturport company are well known here for their theatre work – I’ve seen their collaborations on Faust
and The Heart of Robin Hood
– but they are also film producers, both long and short. The first of their shorts that I caught was Björn Hlynur Haraldsson’s Korriró as it starred two actors I’ve previously seen – Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir and Gísli Örn Garðarsson. Filippusdóttir plays a homeless woman who happens on an open garage door into a luxury home which offers a brief respite from the drudgery of her life. It is beautifully shot and uncompromisingly direct – confronting us all with our attitudes towards the homeless and those from whom we avert our gaze.
Continue reading “Short Film Review #34”
“He will have to combine the rough with the smooth;
Only then will he find his Faustian groove”
Vesturport are an Icelandic theatre company whose innovative approach to theatre has seen them involve actors variously underwater, climbing up walls and clambering across ceilings and performing without makeup. Their new play, a free interpretation of Goethe’s Faust, is a co-production with Reykjavík City Theatre and has been chosen as one of the first plays in the Young Vic’s 40th anniversary season.
Starting off in an old people’s home at Christmastime and an attempted suicide by Jóhann, a gruff actor who after quite some persuasion begins to read the story of the one major role he has never played, Faust. It then riffs off on the Faust story as we know it, taking us on something of an epic journey, somewhat recognisable but at the same time completely different. This ends up as less an exercise in coherent, emotive storytelling than an exhilarating, acrobatics-filled rollercoaster of a production, set to music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (one of the Bad Seeds) that uses the space of the Young Vic like nothing I’ve seen before. Continue reading “Review: Faust, Young Vic”